Archive for the '1' Category

Oh, the places you’ll go

April 20, 2010

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m never going to like myself in a bathing suit all that much. You can laugh. Go ahead. I realize this is something most women have known since the age of 12 and I’m just now coming to terms with the fact that in public, clothes are much easier. Well, and in dressing rooms too – with florescent lights. Excuse my abuse of the English language here.

I tried on a couple pairs of black bottoms in target yesterday. Ha! That sentence gave me a completely different picture than I was going for, but I’ll roll with it. I have this cute, long black and white polka-dot top –  with which I’ve worn green bottoms – that I will be taking to Hawaii in June. My time in front of the mirror made me think of Henry’s gorgeous cousins who, at Shuff’s 100th birthday party last weekend, all called me over to their corner of the table because they wanted to talk to me. Mind you, two of them had breezed in while we were at breakfast, fresh from their 4.5 mile morning run and looking like the picture of health and their first comment to my crusty self was: “she’s so pretty!” Sarah is/was a pilates instructor and runner and one look at her calves confirms this. Megan is a dancer in NYC and Mary Ellen runs, is a mom of a two year and 10 month old. When I told her she didn’t look like she’d had a baby 10 months ago, Sarah quipped: “she has a tape-worm.”

Anyway, I can’t get over how lovely and completely un-self-involved these women are. I felt more like family almost than I’ve ever felt anywhere. Meanwhile, Elliott plied me with tales of life planning parties in L.A.. Well, that’s sort of what he does. It has to do with lighting, but also sound, but then if you really ask him he’ll say that he’s just managing teams of people doing those things. While also traveling from the suburbs of San Fran twice a month and working at a country club. Elliott knows a lot of things about a lot of things for only being 24. Right? Or is it 25?

We got to see Molly and Shaun, who may come to visit us here some time this summer. We’ll keep our fingers crossed. And of course Shuff and Jan, whose house is still the same timeless haven. I took some pictures of the basement and the garden, now that it’s in bloom. We also went up to the attic: a place Henry had never even been. I was simply delighted by these people: Sarah’s husband, Alley, and her kids Avery (13, tweeting hilarious things the whole time), Spencer (11, hanging on Henry the whole time) and Bella (5, who used the word “p0wned” liberally and needed a piggyback every hour just to keep her going); Henry’s Uncle Pete and Aunt Carolyn (the girls’ parents); his Uncle Beirne and Aunt Cynthia (Elliott’s parents) and a host of others. Alley, Elliott, Megan, Henry and I hung out in our room watching The Office and showing each other funny videos on Sunday night after the party. I wish I could go live with each of these people for, like, 6 weeks at a time just to soak in all the funny and niceness.

Tenuous Rest

April 5, 2010

I have pictures of some things that I don’t have the energy to get up and upload, so you’ll get to see them later. There are so many things going on these last two weeks that I haven’ t kept up with the rhythm I’d started in blogging and posting on facebook. Not to mention making things. I made a skirt on Saturday which I’m not sure if I’ll ever wear. It’s made of this sort of hideous vintage fabric I got at an estate sale.

So, starting with today and working backward: our little Merry is sick and probably dying. We didn’t notice anything until this morning when she was all puffy at the bottom of the cage and unsteady on both wing and foot. Harry kept pestering her so I transferred him to our small cage and in so doing accidentally let him out, whereupon he slammed himself into our picture window twice before I could catch him. He submitted more out of disorientation than truly knowing what was good for him and I swore a lot more than I usually do. He’s fine. But our poor, sweet, adventurous little Merry probably has a respiratory infection which has already spread too far to help. Henry researched it  and found out it spreads to the nervous system in the last stages, which makes them unsteady. It’s just a matter of time. You might think it’s silly to cry about a bird, but I feel like such a bad bird parent. There really isn’t anything we could have done to prevent it or treat it, but I’m still sad. I am going to miss her.

I will also miss my Grandpa Swank – who is going home from the hospital on Wednesday and probably going to his real home soon after that. They are turning off his defibrilator because it is shocking him almost constantly and not doing much good. It’s hard to imagine life without him – as it was to imagine how things would feel the same without Grandpa Zigler. They aren’t the same. He will be missed.

Also, during this incredibly busy week – Holy Week for all of you non-liturgical people – my best friend had her beloved Zion (who I got to see get born) and then was taken to the emergency room with fluid in her lungs three days later. I went from highest of highs reliving his birth and going to visit them to fearing for her life and now things are in tenuous balance. She has heart damage that may resolve itself in two weeks, two years or never. I literally CANNOT imagine my life without Bethany. The mind shies away from it. Lord have mercy.

Holy Week has taken somewhat of a backseat this year with all the drama, but I was able to appreciate Jesus’ beauty. I loved hearing all of the scripture directed to Zion during Easter Vigil and thinking of little precious Zion. He was 8 lbs. 5 oz. and 22″ long. He has the longest arms and legs and toes of any baby I’ve ever seen. When I saw that first arm come out of her, I thought: “how was this boy fitting in that tiny body?” I’ve seen births on t.v. and this was both like and completely unlike that. I really felt like I walked away changed. I know it happens every day all over the world and that it’s bloody and messy and really painful, but it does feel like seeing a miracle. One minute Zion didn’t exist and the next he was there. Since Bethany has done everything a few years ahead of me I’ve always felt like she lead the way. She’s kind of my big sister. She and Jere got married after my freshman year and I had the same feeling at their wedding that I did at Zion’s birth: that I was being allowed to watch something sacred and finally understanding it in a way I never had before. From both experiences I walked away changed.

Things with all of my family members are precious and really painful too. Feel free to keep us in your prayers. Also, Henry found out this last week he’s getting a pay cut in July. So that’s a little stressful.

There will be more happy things to come, I promise. Julie and I are talking about opening a B&B here in Chicagoland. Dream come true to work with Julie. 🙂 I got to hang out with the Green girls last week too, and run with Megan and Sarah since the weather has been unbelievable. I’m even eating up these thunder storms. Isn’t April such a great month?

And ya’ll…oh my gosh I almost forgot. Heather Armstrong, of Dooce.com, SENT ME A POSTCARD! She liked the necklace I sent her and called it chic. She says she can’t wait to wear it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here I come moderate fame and tiny fortune!

I just have to say after all this sad stuff, though: God is so good to me. I am more in love with my husband than ever, I feel so grateful for my community and settled in my life, I have so much hope for our future and our church and our careers. I’m seeing my strengths and my calling so much more clearly these days. Thank God for Lexapro and good therapists and time to pray.

The Optimal Angle

March 23, 2010

I’m sitting across from my husband in our living room – it’s 9:28 as I begin this – and he has just finished making minute adjustments to his position in his recliner for the PERFECT “Time Magazine” reading angle. His relatively calm body tells me that he’s finally found it. That’s kind of how I feel at the moment. I spent a good portion of this day in that recliner watching “Supernatural” on his computer while I did some work on my own. Yes, it was a geeky and very technological day. But I did succeed in getting my semblance of a portfolio up on flickr and I feel really proud of myself.

I got the bug to put this together this weekend in the midst of a lot of internal and external chaos. I know you are thinking that it doesn’t take much for me to call it chaos and you are right. I have a low threshold. But I think some of it is bona fide: my grandfather is dying, is one thing. Sometimes my family feels like a complete mess, is another. And I am still blundering my way through my role in it all, is the biggest. After having cleaned my parents’ house and several phone calls and personal conversations about paint colors and choices with my dad I ended up not stepping one foot inside the old house to paint this weekend. He called on Thursday night to tell me that Grandpa’s heart was beating only 47 times per minute and functioning at only 30%. I can attest that Grandpa has little motor function and little will to carry on conversation. His shoulders are bony and if it weren’t for his rosacea and protruding abdomen  he would look the way he’s never looked in all the time I’ve known him: frail. The four of us “kids” stayed to spend more time with him and I found myself thinking, “I can’t remember ever being alone with him.” It was weird. He had no one to talk for him, which Grandma does almost exclusively now. We did get him to tell us his favorite book of the Bible though he detests being asked questions. It’s Luke. And I was severely uncomfortable. I didn’t know where to look. Every sight in that tiny hospital room was depressing. I didn’t know who to talk to: him (which neither of us really wanted) or my siblings (who surely felt just as awkward as me). I just never knew death would be so awkward. I wasn’t there when my Grandpa Zigler died – or toward the end when he had to be carried – so I missed that part. Gone was the warm fuzzy feeling I’d had when I’d visited the week before and he’d called me back from the door to tell me to behave myself and take care of my husband. It just felt bleak and sad. But he did look us each full in the face and tell us he loved us and really, what more can I ask? I am at peace with my last living grandfather and this time I know I’m going to see him again. When I leaned in to give him a hug I aborted the kiss on the cheek I almost gave him and my lips brushed the loose folds of his neck instead. I realized after this visit that that’s probably the best it’s going to get on this earth. The best hope I have to know Robert Ray Swank lies beyond what either of us has ever experienced.

I’ve always wondered about those first few moments after death – as the dead person I mean. It’s the only thing no one really knows about. I remember Peter Pan’s brave avowal that “to die…would be a very great adventure” and that when my friend Angie’s sister Jennie died back when she was 11 and we were only 14, her parents’ last fear was that she had to go on alone without them for her guide. I think about what it will be like when I die. What my first conscious thoughts will be upon waking somewhere else. Will I be surrounded from the beginning or will I be alone? I recently listened to Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely Bones” while I was cleaning houses which I used to do but do no more, Thank God in Heaven. She depicts those moments as a blind flight from the pain and anguish of death which, afterward, only becomes clear in the memory. And I wondered if it would be like that. We do fear that most, do we not? The pain of death? It’s something most of us won’t escape and can’t prepare for. I wonder if it is there, in that final slog through terminal pain, where we experience our final sifting. Will we submit to it; press on toward what lies beyond having been refined enough to desire to set out on the joyous, painful path of becoming real (like in The Great Divorce) or will we let it decide us there must not be a God who cares.

Ahhhh, but onward and upward my friends. It doesn’t end there. I had told my dad I would stay this week in LaPorte for Grandma’s benefit because he decided to go on the senior trip my mom is chaperoning after all, having made his peace with his father. But after a day full of the stresses of family dynamics, I made the hard choice of coming home. I’m glad I did it. It was the wrong decision to have told him I could stay and I’m beginning to realize that everyone will be okay even if I’m not there to rely on. But it was not a decision made without a tearful (dare I say hysterical?) phone call to Henry. After a whole day with Josh and two more sitting in my apartment and working quietly, I am finally in a saner place. This evening I made Thai pork kabobs and onion cakes and brownies and we had a brainstorming session about our future and then we prayed and (forgive me for the run-on sentence) I do LOVE my life. Again. Again and again and again I do. Each time I come back to it it gets sweeter. I love my marriage and my business and my church and my building and my down comforter and our silly birds. And maybe I can’t get Josh to seek counseling or figure out how to make him happy or even get him to call me, but I can hope.

Spring

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring —

When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;

Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush

Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring

The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;

The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush

The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush

With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

 

What is all this juice and all this joy?

A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning

In Eden garden.–Have, get, before it cloy,

Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,

Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,

Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

–Gerard Manley Hopkins

Fighting it out

March 18, 2010

Oh my gosh, this whole time change thing is soooo hard!! I’m only responsible for ME and when I had to get out of bed this morning at – gasp – 7:30, I had a husband who was giving a wide berth because of the puke green aura of unpleasantness hovering in my general vicinity. Thank God for dunkin’ donuts coffee and sunny daffodils on our table.

It didn’t help that we started a fight – THE fight – last night at 10:00 right when it was time for us both just to read for 10 minutes and go to sleep. Here’s how it goes: it starts 72 hours earlier when Henry starts his work week and immediately loses any extra energy he may have gained over the weekend. He is a zombie when he gets home from work. On his lunch breaks he comes in with greasy hair that he didn’t wash due to sleeping in and crashes into bed for 30-40 minutes, grabs and apple and plods back to work. He’s so exhausted all the time that I think he simple doesn’t have brain power to give me more than perfunctory kiss when he gets home.

I thought about this yesterday as I was doing the breakfast dishes. I get huffy with him way too often for forgetting things I “just” told him: people’s names, some detail about my day or my life or something I want or want to do. I realized that if I protected him in public when he forgets other people’s names, for instance, by reminding him sweetly I would probably do a lot more toward making the subject of this interaction feel comfortable plus not making him feel like an outcast than I do by being critical.

Anyway…during this 72 hours I’m starting to feel neglected and lonely but I don’t know it because I’m so well-attuned to being lonely. I’ve adapted (or maybe I should say mal-adapted) so well that it seems harder to ask for togetherness. It IS harder, actually. It means listening to him and meeting him halfway, loving him the way he needs. I’m getting better, but I’m not there yet. Then inevitably I snap at him when he complains about work or for some other reason and he brings it up during the only time have together (no surprise) – when we’re getting in bed. And I get super angry because it’s easier to reject than be rejected.

So…you all know all this psycho-babble. Very helpful. Moving on. Bascially THE fight boils down to:

Jenn: “You’re not present enough. You never pay attention to me.”

Henry: “I’m so tired.”

And it ends with alot of complaining on my part about how much I hate what his job does to him and how little money we make and how I feel trapped and him complaining about how he feels trapped and tired all the time and doesn’t see an end in sight. Then I have a bunch of grandiose plans about how I’ll fix everything somehow that leave me tired before I even finish thinking them and I still don’t see an end in sight. Help us Jesus!

So we wound it down with a prayer that was basically me saying all the negative things I thought and felt about the situation and asking for a changed heart if nothing else would change.  

Isn’t that what it all boils down to? There is not enough positive self-talk in the world to change a heart. I know there are so many people in the world who live through harder times every day of their lives and die in poverty. Some of those people are happier and more hopeful than us, too. I know what I need in those moments is just to sit still and listen rather than doing all of my clamoring and plotting and getting exhausted. It’s hard. Lord have mercy.

Wedding Re-do #3 – Here Comes The Bride

March 17, 2010

Note to self: do not try to cater to your fiance when choosing a wedding dress. Pick the one you like. He won’t notice anyway. Also, don’t cut your hair off 3 months prior to your wedding. Just let it be…you can do all the cutting you want after the big day. And for pete’s sake, pick white flowers and make it all simple. Too much is not better; it’s just too much.

Dress: www.stylemepretty.com Shoes: www.bodenusa.com Floral garland & earrings: www.anthropologie.com

Flowers: white ranunculus, queen anne’s lace, cabbage flower, thistles & succulents

I made this

March 17, 2010

This is a photo I took of myself yesterday because I was all proud of having finished this shirt – a series of 5 I made from some of Henry’s old white t-shirts and vintage lace. I’m so glad to finally be done with them! Now I have some additions to my spring wardrobe and I get to have that pile of t-shirts out of my very messy office. Do you like my hair, by the way? It is currently in a “what have I done?” stage. I pretty much look like a raggamuffin because I cut it myself – after having grown my bangs out for over a year, colored it once, permed it, cut bangs again, razored layers around my face and then chopped my bangs off. I just can’t leave it alone.

Speaking of this shirt, I found out the boutique where I used to work – www.mysisterkateonline.com – moved to Hinsdale and decided on a whim to go visit yesterday. I haven’t seen those ladies for three years, so when Joanne recognized me and I happened at the moment to be eyeing the baby clothes with my hand on my tummy (for no particular reason) wearing that shirt, it was obvious she thought I was pregnant. She kept glancing down at my stomach while she was asking me what was new. Finally, as tactfully as she could, she asked if I we had any plans for kids any time soon. I was like…”maybe.” I wish I could have just said, “I know I had my hand on my stomach and that I’m wearing a maternity shirt and looking at baby clothes, but I’m not pregnant…I promise. Hilarious coincidence.” I mean, I COULD have but where is the fun in that?

It puts me in mind of another time I was mistaken for being prego. I don’t know what it is! I don’t have a perfectly flat tummy but I don’t think I look pregnant…really. It must be my penchant for empire waist shirts. I was at the tailor getting a bridesmaid dress fitted. He was this little Italian guy with an accent. I was wearing a long tank top with a little cropped shrug sweater over it that buttoned right at the bust – so I guess that’s what made him think it. I’m just standing there minding my own business when he pats my belly and asks, “when’s the bambino coming?” I laughed a little bit and tried to ignore him, but he tried again; “when’s the bambino coming? Or is it a bambina?” Finally I said…”oh, I’m not pregnant.” Of course he felt terrible and fell all over himself to apologize and then I felt like I had to assure him it was okay and that it must have been what I was wearing and I didn’t think I was fat. I think that was the fastest fitting I’ve ever been through.

Ugh…speaking of fat – the fat currently padding my middle more than I would like – I went running because it’s GORGEOUS outside today and those three miles were rather tough going. Plus we are going to Hawaii in June with my family and I’d rather not be sporting those extra 15 or so pounds of jiggles when we go. Henry and I did Weight Watchers last spring and it was so great. I was feeling better about my body than I have in years – especially during and right after my wedding. Then we quit and instantly gained most of it back. Why, why, why??? I’m having a hard time facing the fact that I’m not 19 anymore and I can’t just eat everything I want. Here’s to starting again! Day 1! Hawaii here we come!!!

Moving On

March 11, 2010

I have to admit that I woke up feeling very crabby. I wanted to sleep more because I spent the day yesterday cleaning my parents’ house in Indiana so they can sell it. You know how on HGTV they tell all the sellers to de-personalize and de-clutter their spaces so other people can come in and picture themselves in that house? Well, when I had dinner with them I was telling my mom this, complaining that their realtor hadn’t told them to finish cleaning it before she showed it to 15 different people, none of whom gave an offer (surprise, surprise). Some glaring and easily fixed problems were apparent to me right away when I walked in, like the books left on the living room shelves.

My mom: “Well, we didn’t have any place to put them when we moved and we figured…they look fine where they are.”

Me: (in my head) You’re right! Two half sets of the Encyclopedia from 1992, The Case For Christ (and various other Evangelical tomes) and the Book of Farts casually tossed in the middle of one shelf does LOOK FINE.

                It looked downright messy. As did the drawers full of half empty hotel toiletry bottles in ziplock bags stuffed into both bathrooms. And nothing had been cleaned. Some of those nooks were sporting goo accumulated for 10 years or more. I definitely earned my $12/hr. But that’s not really my point. Neither is how much I dislike natural wood trim and cabinets in the whole house – including PANELLING in the basement but I just had to say it. If I “had my druthers on” as Sarah likes to say, I’d rip out the half wall separating the kitchen from the dining room, put a window in the wall between that and the back living room and just tear out all those gnarly cupboards and counters. I’ve been planning it out in my head rather obsessively this morning. Part of me hopes they don’t sell so that they are forced to do a little re-modeling and I GET TO BE IN CHARGE OF IT!!!

                My point is…you wouldn’t think my soul would be so uplifted after cleaning all day but I made some discoveries. One is that my father is changing. There is a conversation I’ve been thinking about having with him, fearing to have with him actually, about some things that happened in my childhood. It’s a conversation that I couldn’t even imagine living through before yesterday. One of those things is that he traveled all the time for a solid 8-10 years when I needed him most: when my mom was sick and depressed and trying to home-school us. I was incredibly lonely. I don’t even really blame him for that. He had to provide for our family and he did it admirably. He is and was an exemplary father. But I want him to know that I missed him, among other things.

Folks: he brought it up himself. And I was able to say to him: “yeah, it was hard.” And then we talked about how he and my mom are GOING TO COUNSELING, and how HE REALIZES HE NEEDS IT.

                I’m not going to be able to express why this is so amazing, except if you have a 50-something, conservative, Evangelical parent of your own or any combination thereof you’ll probably get it. This is how God works. He takes childhood abuse (which both my parents’ suffered), chronic illness and depression of a spouse for 10 years, an adult child with emotional problems, a dying father who abused you, one estranged brother and one who is in jail, two houses to sell and a new job you can’t get to because you have to sell said houses and redeems every single one of them, making your stone heart soft into the bargain. I can’t believe the beauty I saw in him yesterday. I have this vision of him right now as a tree: strong and deeply rooted but pliable. Also plucking my little contented child chords was the fact that he told me it was a huge blessing and weight off his shoulders to have me willing to come and help and that I should look into real estate because I’d already been more helpful than their realtor. There’s nothing quite like the approval of a father, right? I used to sit by him while he was fixing something just so I could be there to hand him the tool he needed. Bonus points if I figured out what he needed and gave it to him without him having to ask. The thing is that it hasn’t ever changed. I still get that little glow inside if I manage to do something like that. It’s like a drug – him being proud of me; me being of use to him. It’s quite natural but you can see why there might be a lot through which to sift when it comes to father issues.

                So they are moving to Milwaukee at some point in the near future whenever they can sell at least one of their houses. And Grandpa Swank is dying. I visited them briefly last night – putting my contact with them at 3 times in the last 4 days. It is more than I have talked with or seen them combined in the last two years, probably. Things have not been simple where my father’s parents are concerned and I’m not going to go into it now except to say that I have realized something else: I love my grandparents AND I enjoy them. Grandpa’s heart is about done which is why he is dying (that and he twisted his pacemaker 180 degrees in his sleep, ripping it completely and irrevocably out of one side of his heart). His father died of a heart attack in that same house, come to think of it, and we are all praying that God will take Grandpa quickly when He does. To see him struggle just to sit up or walk from one room to the next is painful – his vitality and youth have always been un-rivaled– except maybe by Henry’s almost 100 year old Gpa. I hugged him last night and could feel his shoulder bones poking quite plainly through skin and shirt. I’m grateful for his sweetness now, even if for years he didn’t know how to be sweet like normal people. For the brief time he could sit up when we were there on Saturday, he and Grandma sat side by side linking their pinky fingers together. There’s a whole world in that gesture I can’t begin to talk about but its simple tenderness reminded me why God is good. Even though it comes at the end, it’s like a cold drink of water after a long and thirsty walk  to be cherished by this man. I puts me in mind of all of the family meals where my place at the table was at his left hand so he could tease me and I loved it. I don’t remember the age I was when I started to take it all personally and stopped sitting there. It makes me sad to think of that rift only now closing after 15 years. But thanks be to God: it is. In large part because of my husband I am able to – as he puts it – “take them seriously enough to laugh at them” and to realize that might be all they’ve ever wanted.

Floral Dot Earrings on Etsy

March 11, 2010

They’re $4, there are 19 colors and they are going fast!

www.jswank.etsy.com

Wedding Re-do #2 – Invitations!

March 11, 2010

I think I may have forgotten this picnic table shot in my locations board. I love it! It so embodies the feel of our imaginary outdoor backyard reception.

For this round, I think I’d go more eclectic but simple with the invites themselves – include more cards with less writing on them but plenty of texture. And then I’d post them with multiple stamps – which I just think is the cat’s meow right now. And have you ever seen anything as gorgeous as that calligraphy? It makes me want to get married all over again.

The North half of the living room

March 9, 2010

I’m not even gonna show you the other half unless it’s to ask for help. I’m quite happy with this half. The redheaded girl print is “Too Shy” by Rosie Music – www.rosiemusic.etsy.com. The posters on the shelf are, from left to right: a London busline tourist poster for Booxmoor, a page from a 1950’s National Audubon Society calendar and a picture of my sister lying on the grass outside of the Shedd Aquarium. I bought the fancy frame from Goodwill – which is where I also found the green table lamp – and spray painted it a matte silver. I got to use my handy dandy new staple gun to affix the (delicious, taupe, grosgrain) ribbon. The other frames were reclaimed from other gifts and/or projects. I sprayed the one silver and left the other black but sprayed the matt silver because it had been black and white polka-dot.

We LOVE our huge window and can’t wait to get new blinds and curtains. I’m thinking just long drapes for decoration, nothing to block any of the light. The quilt on the couch is not home-made, it’s from Wal-Mart from a long time ago. Sorry…I don’t shop there anymore. The branch, complete with authentic moss, is from my parents’ woods. Henry was kind enough to strap it to the top of our Volvo and drive it home for me where I fought it up the stairwell and tied it with twine to hooks screwed in the ceiling all by myself. It wasn’t that heavy, just unweildy. Funnily enough, no one stirred outside their door to ask me what in the world I was doing with that branch. Or for that matter, to be poked in the eye or mangled by a surprise branch in their face.  It was so worth all the work, though. It makes us feel like we’re sitting under a tree.

I got the idea from a store in Millford, where we also got our huge cage. For two or three days after we put them in their new home, Merry and Pippin stayed at the bottom, not quite sure what to do with themselves. They have since had Harry (short for Harry Potter, The Chosen One because he’s the only one of their offspring who hatched AND lived) who is a real bird now. Three weeks from start to finish – it was crazy. They have laid 4 more eggs as of this morning, so we’re trying it again folks. The teacups I’m using for water and food dishes are from a local antique store: Off The Beaten Path (Henry calls it The Back 40). The white one is a real antique, I’m told. The finches don’t care. As soon as there is  water in the white teacup, they take a fluttery bath, soaking the window and floor all the way around their cage. If you’re a neat freak, don’t get finches, I’m telling you.

OK. I’m done for today, I think.

Jenn